David W. Hoffman

  • Associate Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences
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Contact Information


In addition to my research, I also teach a variety of biochemistry courses, including fundamentals of biochemistry and metabolism, physical methods of biochemistry, and sometimes I teach a course in astrobiology.


Carbon isotope analsysis, NMR Spectroscopy, Protein and Nucleic Acid Structure

I am developing and applying nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods for measuring the distribution of carbon stable isotopes within organic molecules. 

Ongoing work is focused on determining carbon isotope "fingerprints” of molecules, and correlating these isotope fingerprints with the source of the molecules. This carbon isotope fingerprinting has applications in environmental and geosciences, in determining the origin of organic carbon, in addition to biochemistry and chemical forensics. Carbon isotope analyses have traditionally been obtained as whole-molecule average 13C/12C ratios, usually by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). In contrast, our position-specific isotope analysis (PSIA) method determines 13C/12C ratios at individual carbon positions within molecules, providing additional information that is masked by the averaging process in traditional IRMS.

Manuscripts describing the methods were recently published in Analytical Chemistry and Amino Acids, and the work is supported by the Dept of Energy.

Publications on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=FUsfTl4AAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate   

Research Areas

  • Biophysics or Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry

Fields of Interest

  • Structural Biology and Biophysics
  • Biochemistry

Centers and Institutes

  • Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Programs


  • Ph.D., Duke University (1987)
  • M.S., University of Massachusetts (1982)
  • B.S., (1979)